Year by year, the use of digital tools and devices such as smartwatches, webcams and voice assistants increases exponentially. For example, a research found that in the H1 of 2020, the smartwatch sales increased %20.
Although the benefits of such technological development is evident, tremendous dangers are lurking behind the scenes. Since the digital tools are relatively new, there are enormous cybersecurity gaps within their cyber security structures. So, it is not very surprising to hear that hackers have already started to abuse those vulnerabilities.
Further Information to Spot Webcam Hacking
With the COVID-19 epidemic affecting the whole world, the use of video conferencing services, and therefore webcams, has increased significantly. This article underlines how high the demand for webcams is. Eventually, this has led to webcams being targeted by cybercriminals creeping in the dark web. There are typical scenarios to be informed about when one suspects their webcam is hacked These are:
1.The webcam lights turning on at unrelated times
In the vast majority of webcams, there is a small light right next to your camera. During web conferences or meetings, the light goes red if the webcam is turned on. However, this might also occur if someone else is controlling the camera remotely with unauthorized access. You need to be aware of whether the light is on when the user is not using the camera.
On the other hand, one of the applications operating in the back may also be run on the camera. Thus, it’s also important for users to look at these apps and check the permissions granted to the running apps.
Add-ons installed on browsers can also initiate the camera without users’ knowledge. If the camera is constantly running when a particular browser is launched, it may mean that a plug-in installed in the browser is turning the camera on. To find out which one, users can check all plugins by turning them off and on one by one.
2.Video files shot with a webcam can be created on the computer
Although the cyber attackers take over the webcam, they might leave their traces behind since the images recorded with the camera can be saved on the computer. Therefore, looking at images that are not saved by the user in the computer stands out as one of the easiest ways to understand whether the webcam has been captured by cyber attackers or not. Customer records are highly sensitive information so it demands close attention.
3.Security settings may have changed
Malwares can make readjustments to the security settings to take control of the webcam more easily. Users can access detailed information about their security setting and check if something is different. The settings can be found through the web camera application. Besides, there is a feature to prevent applications from using the webcam in Windows 10. To be more precautious against data breaches, one can always block access to webcams via apps. If not, breaches occur and users may suffer critical damage.
4.An Antivirus search finds a suspicious application
Users can find out if their devices have malware or showcased a suspicious activity by performing a manual scan with the recommended anti-virus programs. Also, by looking at the details, you can see if the webcam security has been violated and make sure that the antivirus program has removed all suspicious content.
Bonus: How to deal with a message sent by hackers?
Hackers who have infiltrated the computer can blackmail the owner with some images extracted from the webcam. They can send a message to the device, and deliver their demands. It is necessary to approach these messages as phishing. Almost all of these messages contain false information about what the hacker did or the files they accessed. Therefore, it is very important that users do not click this link without seeing the webcam images.
The webcam security issues are not just a situation that occurs with COVID-19. Covering the webcam with tape or using a special webcam cover is common among individual users. However, the cameras that are cracked by hackers remain open 24/7.
Avishai Efrat, an ethical hacker, says with little effort he found more than 15,000 potentially accessible cameras. At this point, it is possible to verify and close gaps by receiving services from independent security researchers. An expert on camera penetration, as well as hardware, software and network controls can ensure the security of cameras.
Smartwatches Can Also Be Cracked Down
Smartwatches are often paired with smartphones. They have become increasingly popular in the last few years; however, they can also pass huge data losses. Many studies in 2019 discovered significant gaps in the smartwatches that parents bought to keep track of their children. This blogpost proposes a worthy example of such a phenomenon.
The vulnerabilities discovered in cloud environments -where the smartwatches are connected- at the end of the year point to a huge danger that could target millions of smartwatches with cellular connectivity.
Since they are connected to smart devices via Bluetooth, there are prominent risks of vulnerability. Research conducted by the Norwegian Consumer Council on the watches used by children has revealed that these clocks can be seized quite easily. Possible problems include many scenarios such as hackers being able to listen to children through microphones at watches, get the information that they are inside or outside the building or the knowledge of whether they are playing with their friends or alone.
Smartwatches are in a vulnerable position as they provide continuous access to many sensitive data like credit card information simultaneously. For this reason, smartwatch users should not give up the precautions even for a moment and should take careful steps at every stage from the selection of the smartwatch to its potential uses. This way, any malicious security breaches can be avoided.
Voice Assistants Are Vulnerable Too
Voice assistants, which have become a standard in smartphones, can do a lot of work with just the user’s speech. However, by capturing voice assistants, cyber attackers can extract information that’s been voiced by users to operate their transactions. For example, they can retrieve phone numbers dialed out vocally.
According to a report by research company Canalys, 56 million voice assistant devices were sold in 2018 alone. This statistic shows that voice assistants occupy a very important place in our lives. This situation is further strengthened by the fact that 80 percent of users stated that they were satisfied with voice assistants, according to the voice report published by Microsoft in April 2019.
However, 41 percent said they were concerned about security and privacy. 52 percent of those who shared their views for the report said they were not sure of the security of personal information or data.
For this reason, the corporations operating voice assistant technology and developers who integrate assistants into their systems must have their digital environments tested by expert researchers. Companies should constantly test their systems by using platforms that provide services with independent researchers focused on direct results and cost less.
Although new technologies provide immense practicality, they are also prone to be abused by cyber attackers. Therefore, both individual and company-wise users should be on alert. Modern problems demand modern solutions and different perspectives. Thus, contemporary, creative and high-skilled researchers can avoid those users getting hacked.
With its crowdsourced ecosystem, any bug bounty program might provide what’s needed. Timesaving and cost-efficient solutions to handle contemporary problems with ease is beneficial for everyone. Globally accumulated expertise of over 100 researchers can protect the user’s data from any malicious attempts.
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